Family Grocery & My Grandpa

My grandpa and I in the apartment.
My grandpa and I in the apartment.

My grandpa first came to America in 1981 when he was working on a ship. He came to America in hopes of bringing his family over from Bangladesh so they can live a better life. They came in 1992 and settled down in the Lower East Side. They were not the only Bengalis living here, there were more relatives and they all lived in the same household. There were multiple families packed in together and the apartment they lived in served as a station for many. It was a place where people came for food, comfort, and family. On Rivington street, between Orchard and Ludlow was Baishakhi Grocery. It was one of the first Bangladeshi grocery stores in the area. In 1997 my grandpa and uncles bought the dukan (store) and they sold more than just common grocery foods. They also had spices, Bengali snacks, halal meats (beef, lamb, chicken, fish) and even things like Bangla & Bollywood movies, and CDs. My mother and her siblings went to school and before the dukan, my uncles worked jobs outside of school to help support the family. When they got the dukan, they worked there and were able to open more in the following years. Today they work at SX Gourmet Deli, a block down from the original dukan. Over the years they accomplished so much. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn’t for my grandpa. My dad wouldn’t have been in America if my mom didn’t go to Bangladesh in 1996 and get married to him. It all started with my grandpa immigrating to America and all the hard work the whole family did.

Place(s): New York, Bangladesh
Year: 1981

– Mahfuzza Begum

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant